Advertising in the CBD industry – Tips for advertising CBD online in the UK

With many people turning to CBD to help ease anxiety or pain, CBD products and brands are becoming more popular than ever in the UK.

No matter the quality of your product, you’re competing with every CBD brand out there (good or bad) and trying to increase your own sales and brand awareness.

On top of that, advertising restrictions in the UK for cannabis-derived products have made it increasingly difficult to get your brand in front of the customer.

So, with all this in mind, The Extract has compiled some simple tips to help you and your CBD business.

What is CBD?

CBD stands for cannabidiol which is a chemical compound from the cannabis plant. CBD is most commonly sold in oil form, for oral consumption. It has become an increasingly popular ingredient in skincare and food products in the UK.

CBD is legal in the UK provided it does not contain more than 0.2% of THC, as THC is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Another important legal aspect is that the industrial-grade hemp the CBD is extracted from must be EU approved, thus ensuring the CBD only has trace amounts of THC.

Status of CBD in the UK

Classifications of CBD

The current regulation surrounding the CBD industry is not entirely clear. There are three classifications of which CBD can fit into depending on the method of consumption, the use and the amount of THC detectable.

Novel Foods

Novel Foods are defined as any food that was not majorly consumed in the EU before 1997. CBD was added to the Novel Food Catalogue in January 2019. This means CBD products will require pre-market authorisation. The UK Food Standard Agency has set the deadline for 31st March 2021. Thus meaning, CBD brands will have had to submit their CBD products for a Novel Food application (NFA).

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Controlled Substances

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CBD flower and CBD bud both fall under the scope of the Misuse of Drug Act along with other illegal substances, such as cannabis. CBD oils may also fall under the controlled substance classification if THC is detectable in the product. Therefore a special licence is required for this CBD product.


The UK health authoritative body, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) latest update in 2016, clarified that if the CBD products are used for medicinal purposes, the products are a medicine.

Current Advertising Restrictions

The UK health authoritative body, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) latest update in 2016, clarified that if the CBD products are used for medicinal purposes, the products are a medicine.

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As CBD regulations are still being developed and research being carried out on the benefits of the substance, the main guideline is not to make any medical claims when advertising your CBD product.

Words of Warning

Avoid the following descriptive terms when advertising your CBD brand (List is not exhaustive)

  • Avoids
  • Boosts
  • Calms
  • Cures
  • Eliminates
  • Fights
  • Heals
  • Prevents
  • Protects against
  • Relieves
  • Repairs
  • Restores
  • Stops
  • Treats

When advertising your CBD product, use highly subjective language to make beneficial claims such as –

  • Support
  • Maintain
  • Helps to maintain

CBD Advertising on Google

Here’s the harsh truth – most CBD campaigns are removed by Google in 7-14 days.

Google is one of the biggest platforms for driving traffic to your website, however, all CBD advertisements were restricted as they have classified it as a “dangerous product”.

Your advertisement may have been approved by Google for your CBD product, however, Adwords will remove your campaign as soon as it crawls your website and content.

CBD Advertising on Social Media

Most CBD companies struggle to advertise on social media. Here’s our breakdown of CBD advertising restrictions in the UK on each social media platform.

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CBD Advertising on Facebook and Instagram

It’s possible to have a CBD advertisement approved on Instagram, however, this is a very slim chance.

The majority of CBD advertisements are disapproved, and sometimes this can result in your Instagram account being shut down completely. Instagram advertising should not be the first option or priority for your CBD company. Instead, focus on growing your reach organically.

Build rapport with your customers, repost pictures or stories of your products that customers have shared and boost brand awareness with competitions and giveaways.

Research is key with Instagram, increase your reach with:

  • Well-researched hashtags
  • Location tags (if applicable)
  • Tag influencers or relevant accounts

CBD Advertising on Snapchat

CBD advertisements have slowly started to appear on Snapchat as they have lesser rules and restrictions on paid CBD advertising, compared to other social media platforms. You are still limited in what you can or can’t say in the advertisement. You are not allowed to reference any medical claims or health benefits in the advertisement.

Also, any promotion displayed on the advertisement is prohibited, this rules out any sales or discount codes. Snapchat does permit you to mention CBD or Hemp on the copy of your advertisement, however, ensure you mention that the product contains 0% THC otherwise the advertisement will be disapproved.

CBD Advertising on Twitter

Twitter’s advertising policies prohibit the advertising or promotion of illegal, recreational and/or herbal drugs, removing Twitter entirely as an option for advertising CBD. This is only applicable to paid advertising options, you can still use Twitter as an engaging platform to target customers for your business. Twitter is the optimal solution for engaging directly with customer queries and interacting with potential customers.

Advertise on The Extract

Are looking for solutions to advertise your CBD or Hemp business?

Also Read:  Is big pharma attempting to monopolise the CBD industry?

The Extract can help you increase your brand awareness and directly target the CBD market.

If you are looking for expert advertising assistance fill out the contact form here.

If you are looking for marketing advice and services for your CBD brand, fill out the contact form here.

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Paul Burns

Paul Burns might be best described by his famed catchphrase "Yabba Dabba Doo". Or maybe that was Fred Flintstone. When he's not writing for The Extract, he is penning his new novel.

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  1. Hi There,

    I am a Co-founder of Moods and Bears. Specialist in CBD Honey.

    We are just launching our products to the market. I am now looking for an agency that will take care of our advertisement ,mainly via online and social media.

    We are going to be listed very soon with distributors in the UK and we need to start as soon as possible.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Looking forward to hearing from you

    Many thanks


    1. Hi Joachim,

      With Covid apologies we missed this initially, we are all wishing you the best of success with the business, honey sounds promising and innovative.

      I would say the agency with the most experience is ORH Marketing, they learned in Canada and the US before working with brands in UK for the last 10 years.

      Worth reaching out to at [email protected] – others might be out there that are good but none that we know of that have the CBD focus of ORH.

      Hope the business is buzzing 🙂

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